B2 Visa
B2 Visa

Do Korean Citizens Need a Visit Visa for USA?


The United States of America is one of the most popular holiday destinations for Koreans. In 2017, USA welcomed 1.5 million visitors from South Korea in the first eight months alone, says an article on USA Today, which represented a 17.4% hike from the previous year. While there has been a visible drop in the number of inbound tourists from Mexico and Canada, Korean visitors to the US rose each month in 2017, making it the sixth most tourist generating country in the world.

Brand USA has also made significant efforts to promote US tourism in Korea and many other countries. 

Can North Koreans Enter the US?

Nationals of North Korea, under updated guidelines of the US Department of Homeland Security, are not eligible to travel to the US under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP). This restriction is also extended to all those countries that have dual citizenship agreements of another VWP country or North Korea. North Koreans are usually not allowed to travel freely in their own country, let alone USA or other nations. 

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How to Get US Visa for South Koreans

South Korean citizens are eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program. You will have to apply for an ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) visa waiver. This program allows you to enter America for short term stays of up to 90 days per visit. You can travel for the purposes of leisure, business, medical treatment, transit and short study courses on an ESTA.

However, if an ESTA is denied to you or you wish to stay in the US for more than 90 days, you will need to apply for a traditional US visit visa. This could be a B1 Business Visa or a B2 Tourist Visa. 

When to Apply for an ESTA?

ESTA applications should be submitted at least 72 hours before your intended date of travel to the US. However, it is important to keep in mind that an ESTA can be revoked at any time, which means that it does not guarantee entry into America.

Documents Required for an ESTA

You will require the following documents to be eligible for an ESTA:

  1. Valid Electronic Passport: This passport must have a chip embedded in it, with all your biometric data on it.
  2. Travel Documents: If you are entering the US via air or sea, you must possess a return ticket to your home country or an onward journey ticket to the next destination. 

Things to Keep in Mind Before Applying for an ESTA

  • If you wish to stay for more than 90 days, your travel purpose does not fall under the ESTA Visa Waiver Program. 
  • You are not eligible to apply for an ESTA if you have a criminal record, have been arrested, overstayed a visa previously, or have been refused entry to the US earlier. 

What to do if the ESTA is Refused?

In case your application has been rejected, you will be required to apply for a US visit visa by filling up the Non Immigrant Electronic Visa (DS-160) Form, online.

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Blogger, Entrepreneur, Mentor. Having lived in the US and the Middle East for about a decade, and gone through immigration many times, I have a lot to share. Add me on Facebook or contact me on WhatsApp +0014084894785

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